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Iranian state television says says that Tehran has launched a solid-fueled rocket into space, drawing a rebuke from Washington ahead of the expected resumption of stalled talks over Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers. It’s unclear when exactly the rocket was launched, but the announcement came after satellite photos showed preparations at a desert launch pad and Iran acknowledged it planned tests for the satellite-carrying Zuljanah rocket. State-run media claimed that the rocket launch was successful. The news comes after the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, traveled to Tehran in a push to resuscitate stalemated negotiations.
The European Union and Iran say they have agreed to resume negotiations in Vienna in the coming days over Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers. The agreement on Saturday could help relieve tensions after the talks stalled for months, while Iran enriches uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels under decreasing international oversight. At a joint press conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian in Tehran, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borell, said the negotiations would restart soon. He added that the United States, which unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018 and imposed tough economic sanctions on Iran, should also return to the negotiations.
When British Prime Minister Boris Johnson survived a no-confidence vote this week, at least one other world leader shared his relief. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said it was “great news” that “we have not lost a very important ally.” It was a welcome boost for a British leader who divides his country, and his party, but has won wide praise as an ally of Ukraine. Johnson’s relatively narrow victory in the vote by Conservative Party lawmakers leaves him a diminished leader facing undiminished international challenges. Chief among them are the war in Ukraine and Britain’s strained relationship with the European Union.
Iran has begun removing 27 surveillance cameras from nuclear sites across the country. That's according to the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. The agency's chief, Rafael Mariano Grossi, warned from Vienna on Thursday that if an agreement cannot be reached to restore the cameras in three to four weeks, “this would be a fatal blow” to Iran’s tattered nuclear deal. Iran did not immediately acknowledge the move, though it warned it could take more punitive steps amid a dispute with the IAEA over censuring Iran on Wednesday over Tehran's failure to provide “credible information” over man-made nuclear material found at three undeclared sites in the country.
An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office says Russian troops have changed their tactics in the battle for Sievierodonetsk. Oleksiy Arestovych said Wednesday that Russian soldiers have retreated from the city and are now pounding it with artillery and airstrikes. As a result, he says, the city center is deserted. In his daily online interview, Arestovych says: “They retreated, our troops retreated, so the artillery hits an empty place. They are hitting hard without any particular success.”
Migration has taken center stage at an assembly of Western Hemisphere leaders in Los Angeles. Leaders are expected to agree on a call to action that supporters hope will guide countries as they host people fleeing violence and persecution and searching for more economic stability. The United States has been the most popular destination for asylum-seekers since 2017, but it is far from alone in facing more migrants at its borders. While leaders of Mexico and several Central American countries are skipping the Summit of the Americas, the migration accord has been in the works for nearly a year.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has confirmed that he will not attend the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles this week, dealing a blow to the event hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden. The decision follows a dispute about the guest list. López Obrador wanted Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela to be invited, but Washington did not want to include autocratic governments. The Mexican leader said Monday that “There cannot be a summit if all countries are not invited.” The White House is defending its decision to exclude certain countries.
A former high-ranking U.S. ambassador admitted Friday to illegal foreign lobbying on behalf of Qatar after demanding that prosecutors tell him why a retired four-star general who worked with him on the effort has not been charged. Richard Olson, former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan, pleaded guilty in Washington on federal charges that include improperly helping the Persian Gulf country influence U.S. policy. But Olson has argued he’s entitled to learn why prosecutors aren’t bringing charges for similar conduct by former Marine Gen. John Allen, who led U.S. forces in Afghanistan before being tapped to lead the Brookings Institution. Allen has denied wrongdoing.
President Joe Biden’s special envoy for North Korea is monitoring North Korean arrangements for a possible nuclear test explosion that outside officials say could be imminent. The envoy said Friday the United States is “preparing for all contingencies” in close coordination with its South Korean and Japanese allies. American diplomat Sung Kim was in Seoul for a trilateral meeting with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts to discuss the growing threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles program. North Korea has ramped up missile tests in 2022, exploiting a favorable environment to push forward weapons development as the United Nations Security Council remains divided over Russia’s war on Ukraine.
President Joe Biden says in a guest essay in The New York Times that he's decided to provide the Ukrainians with more advanced rocket systems and munitions that will enable them to more precisely strike key targets on the battlefield. The expectation is that Ukraine could use the rockets in the eastern Donbas region, where they could both intercept Russian artillery and take out Russian positions in towns where fighting is intense, such as Sievierodonetsk. That town 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of the Russian border is in an area that is the last pocket under Ukrainian government control in the Luhansk region of the Donbas.